NAIROBI TOP JOB

Blow to Sonko as court refuses to stop Kananu vetting

Two other similar cases to be heard on Thursday

In Summary

• Sonko had sought the orders on grounds that he had revoked Kananu’s nomination on December 7 last year.

• He told Justice Anthony Mrima that the intention by the assembly to appoint Kananu as the deputy governor would, therefore, be invalid.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko after being arrested on December 6, 2019.
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko after being arrested on December 6, 2019.
Image: REUTERS

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has lost a bid to stop the county assembly from vetting and approving Anne Kananu Mwenda as deputy governor.

Sonko had sought the orders on grounds that he had revoked Kananu’s nomination on December 7 last year.

He told Justice Anthony Mrima that the intention by the assembly to appoint Kananu as the deputy governor would, therefore, be invalid.

In court documents, Sonko also claimed President Uhuru Kenyatta's sister Kristina Pratt Kenyatta had tried to influence his choice prior to the impeachment.

He said Kristina sought his favour in appointing Jane Weru to the position. 

But Kananu through lawyer Paul Muite told the court Sonko's revocation of her nomination is useless and had no legal effect. 

She said Sonko had no authority to withdraw the nomination once it had been tabled before the county assembly for vetting. A contrary decision would be a threat to the doctrine of separation of powers. 

The court declined to issue any conservatory orders and directed parties to highlight their submissions in the case on February 4. At the same time, the court allowed the Attorney General to participate in the proceedings as an interested party. 

Meanwhile, two other cases filed by Habil Kongo and Okiya Omtatah touching on similar issues were consolidated. 

 The judge directed the assembly and other parties to file their responses in the matter ahead of hearing tomorrow at 2pm. 

In the cases, Kongo says he is an aspiring candidate for the Nairobi governor's seat and is opposed to the vetting of Kananu.

Kongo told the court that he wishes to bring on board his choice of deputy once he makes it to the ballot. 

He asked the court. “If Kananu is to be vetted, what becomes of my deputy governor of choice?” He said the public is entitled to a by-election.

Kongo also said that even if the nomination of Kananu was valid, Sonko’s impeachment dealt it a blow. 

Omtatah on the other hand told the court that under the Constitution, Kananu cannot be deputy governor and definitely not the governor, since she never assumed office when Nairobi had a county chief. 

“The Constitution contemplates a holder of the office of a deputy governor, who is in office when the vacancy occurs, and not any other person, to assume office where a governor ceases to hold office. Kananu was not, and is not, the holder of the office of deputy governor,” he said.

It is for that reason that Omtatah said an election for both the offices of the governor and of deputy governor must be held unless the impeachment of Sonko is reversed.